About the Book
‘I will never forget what the Nazi did to me. Never’
Paris, 1940. As Nazis patrol the streets of the French capital, Tiena is alone, desperate and on the run. After defending herself against the force of an officer, she must find a new identity in order to survive.
An accidental meeting with members of the Resistance gives her a lifeline, as she is offered the chance to reinvent herself as perfumer Angéline De Cadieux. However Angéline will never forget what happened to her, and will do everything she can to seek revenge.
But vengeance can be a dangerous game, and Angeline can only hide her true identity for so long before her past catches up with her, with some devastating consequences…
Paris, 2003. When the opportunity arises for aspiring journalist Emma Keane to interview world renowned perfumer Madame De Cadieux about her life during World War Two, she is determined to take it. There are secrets from her own family history that she hopes Angéline may be able to help unlock.
But nothing can prepare Emma for Angéline’s story, and one thing is for certain – it will change her own life forever…
Format: Paperback (390 pages) Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication date: 30th November 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find The Lost Girl in Paris on Goodreads
The book alternates between two timelines. The first, set in 2003, features ambitious journalist Emma Keane who manages to gain the agreement of famous parfumier Angéline De Cadieux to tell the story of her life and wartime experiences, a story Angéline has carefully guarded up to that point. As well as promising to be a career-enhancing scoop, Emma has reasons of her own for wanting to delve into the secrets of Angéline’s past and the secrets of the parfumier’s art.
In the second timeline, set in wartime France, the reader learns about the traumatic events Angéline experienced as a young woman, experiences that put her in fear of capture by the Nazis – and by one Nazi in particular – and that resulted in her transformation from Tiena Cordova to Angéline de Cadieux. We also learn about her time working as a parfumier and as a member of the nascent French Resistance, risking discovery at any moment. As Angéline’s subsequent experiences show, the consequences of discovery are degradation, inhuman treatment and almost certain death.
I wasn’t completely won over by the dual timeline structure in which Angéline’s reminiscences are sometimes related to Emma and at other times direct to the reader in chapters contemporaneous with the events being described. I preferred the style of writing in the latter and I was always glad to immerse myself again in Angeline’s story. However, I appreciate the book’s structure enabled the author to draw interesting parallels between the two women. One thing the two women share is the presence of two handsome men in their lives. For Angéline this is a much-lamented past love whilst for Emma it is an enticing future prospect (although in true Pride & Prejudice style initially she intensely dislikes the man in question). Eventually the two women’s stories come together by which time the bond between them has grown deeper.
Although many of us will know about the persecution of Jewish people by the Nazis, the plight of the Roma people under the regime is probably less well-known, although what they suffered was equally horrific. Angéline’s first-hand experience of this, although difficult to read at times, was the most compelling part of the book for me, showing the courage of those who endured the worst that human beings can do to one another. As Emma observes at one point, it’s a story that needs to be told.
I received an advance review copy courtesy of Boldwood Books via NetGalley.
In three words: Emotional, dramatic, intense
Try something similar: The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes
About the Author
Jina Bacarr is a US-based historical romance author of over 10 previous books. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and news reporter, but now writes full-time and lives in LA. Jina’s novels have been sold in 9 territories. Sign up for Jina’s newsletter letter here.